Did you know evidence of the first tacos eaten in Mexico indicates they were filled with fish? Or that the The Online Etymological Dictionary defines taco as a "tortilla filled with spiced meat" and its derivation as being from the Mexican Spanish words for "light lunch.”
I didn’t. I only knew that from the moment I ate my first bite I fell in love with the sometimes messy, sometimes spicy little “sandwiches.” That was back in the 1960’s American Midwest, where tacos were an exotic food and the hamburger was king of the region. Of course, the tacos served up in my high school cafeteria or local fast food drive-thru were beef based. By contrast, my kids were consuming all kinds of interesting ingredients in their tacos as soon as they could safely eat solid foods.
The happiest dining experience of each month was Build Your Own Taco Night in our home. Whichever leftover dinner proteins in my refrigerator that night were fair game for mixing with cheese, toppings (chopped avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, scallions, salsa, corn, and sour cream,) and my own homemade taco sauce. To my delight, the fish went into the kids’ tacos as frequently as the chicken and the beef did.
Sometimes we’d have contests to see who could get the best color mix into their tacos, or who could build and eat the biggest one. Winners were selected by popular vote. Fish tacos were in vogue in my kitchen before they started appearing on the menus of chi-chi restaurants because salmon’s color usually helped push a taco into the winning category.
Not only did our make-your-own meals provide better nutrition (fish is “brain food”), they also allowed my little tactile learners to get their hands on and play with their food.
Our family enjoyed our creative evenings so well that I had to include a couple of fish taco recipes inEasy Weekly Meals for College Students* and Easy Weekly Meals for Moms on the Go**.
Today is National Taco Day. Think outside the box and celebrate by creating your own delicious taco!
*Available now on the Easy Weekly Meals website and through all major online booksellers.
**Available in early November on Easy Weekly Meals and via all major online booksellers.